GM Hoping to Make a Big Splash with First Electric Pickup

When Tesla announced it was working on a fully-electric pickup, many people laughed. Too soon, they said. Unfeasible, others agreed. Tesla, of course, soldiered on in their efforts, which do not have a scheduled release date. One company, though, has jumped ahead of the competition, announcing plans to release the first American fully electric truck by the fall of 2021. That company is General Motors.

The announcement was met with some skepticism among the auto crowd. Could a fully electric pickup really meet the demands of the tough truck market? GM’s CEO Mary Barra tried to quell fears and misgivings by banking on GM’s reputation for making strong, capable pickups:

“General Motors understands truck buyers and … people who are new coming into the truck market…” several media outlets reported Barra saying, “It will be a very capable truck, I’m pretty excited about it.”

This statement comes on the heels of a report, last month, by Reuters, that GM has an entire line of pickups, light duty trucks, and SUVs in the works. The new lineup is expected to be manufactured at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant in 2021, according to reports.

Pickups are one of the most profitable segments for all automakers in the world, so the first company to come out with capable, reliable fully-electric truck is expected to have a corner on a very lucrative market. GM hopes to get out ahead of the competition and carve out a strong market share.

But they are not alone. Ford is in the race as well, promising an all-electric F-series truck sometime in 2021 as well. As GM’s chief rival in the American market, especially for pickups, Ford would love to be able to step in and steal some of GM’s thunder in this race to see who can get a fully-electric truck to the American market fastest.

And, with two big names dropping dates and deadlines, does Tesla have anything new to add? Not in the way of a timeline, no. Elon Musk said his company’s truck would be more like a futuristic “armored personnel carrier” than a traditional pickup truck. And, while that promise definitely earned headlines, that message didn’t resonate as much as the promise of an industry-flipping product with a strong deadline. Now, the onus is on both GM and Ford to hit their deadline… or risk their headline grabbing messages getting lost in a sea of questions and doubts.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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